Another Missed Prediction: Nokia and WP 7

Not that it matter, but I’ve missed on another of my predictions.

By now, you’ve likely heard that Nokia is partnering with Microsoft to release Windows Phone 7 smartphones. Many, many, many people are seeing this as highly negative and disappointing for Nokia, and Nokia’s stock reflects this sentiment.

I tend to agree, and here’s a quick summary of what my initial thoughts:

  • WP 7 has few apps and therefore can’t compete with Android and iOS. With mobile development already split, adding another platform isn’t feasible for many development shops.
  • Big questions loom for dumbphones, where Nokia still has a huge advantage. I don’t have a lot of confidence that WP 7 is optimized for low spec hardware.
  • The WP 7 browser is based on IE 7. You read that right. No HTML5 or really any modern browsing. They’re porting to IE 9, so maybe that will get done in time for Nokia/WP 7 smartphones. Who knows?
  • Nokia goes from an open source haven to a closed source one. Yes, there will still be some open source, e.g. MeeGo, but the commitment is gone.

I haven’t digested all the analysis yet, but it’s intensely negative so far.

Like Tim (@oraclebase), I was rooting for Nokia, and even as recently as yesterday when it became impossible to ignore the WP 7 rumor, I was really hoping for an Android announcement. Alas, it was not to be.

I suppose I could still claim some measure of correctness if the Dalvik VM rumor for BlackBerry Playbook is true. Or not.

Anyway, your reactions to the Nokiasoft news? Find the comments.

Update: David (@dhaimes) points out that I did predict a comeback for Microsoft in 2011. Unfortunately, I wasn’t hoping for this type of resurgence. WP 7 does have some humorous ads, but they tread a delicate line between phone that’s productive and phone that’s dumb and therefore you won’t be using much.

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9 comments

  1. Re: your second thought, I don’t think today’s announcement has any direct impact on Nokia’s dumbphone strategy, probably continuing with S40 there. It was their “primary smartphone strategy” that got changed.

    I’m cautiously optimistic about this, mostly because I dig the WP7 UI 🙂 But both MS and Nokia sure have a lot to do now.

  2. That’s the problem. They said Symbian “becomes a franchise platform” which says very little. Does that mean they’re going to improve it to compete with the cheap Androids (and maybe the iPhone Nano)? Does it mean that Symbian will be sent to sustaining?

    Biggest question: how will Nokia convert dumbphone owners into smartphone owners?

    Nokia is an afterthought in smartphones. If not for their dumbphone share, they’re completely irrelevant. So, why wasn’t that addressed?

  3. Success of the strategy has surely got to be tied to a successful apps development program. MSFT get it right with the Windows apps approach, but will large numbers of individual mobile apps developers really go for the behemot Visual Studio to develop little apps for WP7? Don’t think so. The app developers I know aren’t too interested in porting from iOS/Android either. The WP7 UX- or what I saw of it when launched – was pretty cool though.

  4. Yeah, Silverlight/Visual Studio is no-fly for most mobile devs. Is it even available for Mac? You need Mac for the iOS SDK; now you need Windows for Visual Studio? Not happening.

    The only way that works is for enterprise development.

    The WP7 UI doesn’t suck, but is that enough?

  5. What do you mean by “VM across ecosystems” exactly? Sounds interesting. The latest rumor (again) is that Nokia will sell its phone unit to MSFT, which makes a lot of sense. Given the touch-centric experience shown for Win 8 and some of the strict specs I saw for Win 8 manufacturers, MSFT is looking to clone Apple’s approach and control more of the experience.

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